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Thread: Schrage musik

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    Default Schrage musik

    I assume discussion of this subject has taken place on this forum before but I would like to mention what a Lancaster pilot told me.

    Clem is a mate of mine who is now in a nursing home and well into his nineties and, God bless him, very little memory left. He completed a 32 op tour late in the war and was on his way to Australia to convert to Liberators when the Jap war finished.

    When I heard about the upward firing cannon long after my discharge from the RAAF I asked Clem about it. I was very surprised when he told me he knew NOTHING about it. I can only assume that the senior officers thought it was hard to defend and would be better not to inform the aircrews. Is this possible ?

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    Jack,
    I have spoken to two Halifax pilots who were active in the later half of 1943 and they knew about it. Depending on how late in the war your chap was active could it be that with air superiority it was mostly daylight raids with fighter escort rendering, I would think, the schrage musik tactic useless? Note to self "do a little research first" - After poking around the web I see the tactic was still effective as late as Feb/Mar of 1945 so I think I'm off mark on my prior comments.

    Cheers
    Rodger
    Last edited by rmventuri; 30th August 2012 at 02:18. Reason: benefit of more research
    In remembrance of the crew of Halifax HR732
    51 Squadron Snaith - All LWT Leipzig 4 December 1943

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    Rodger I think it was known to be very rewarding for the German night fighter pilots with as many as 7 Lancasters destroyed by single pilots in a night. Thanks for your interest. Cheers, Jack.

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    As an aside this device was a copy of an arrangement used by aircraft (BE12 ?) of our Home defence squadrons in the First World War as a means of attacking Zeppelins.

    Ian

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    It was argued that as late as the Nuremberg raid in 1944 this was unknown to crews. Gunners reporting it on that raid, where the light was bright enough to provide quite good visibility over considerable distances, had their comments discounted by intelligence officers. I suspect this may have been said in the Deighton book, perhaps not the most reliable source.

    At around the same time the Preston-Green ventral gun position on Halifaxes was being replaced by H2S. This doesn't suggest that the higher levels of Bomber Command were aware.

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    Default Schrage Musik

    I don't know when the 'higher echelons' of BC first got to learn about this set-up but they certainly got a good look when a brand new Ju 88 with all mod cons got lost and landed at Woodbridge in July 1944. As for the crews themselves, I don't recall reading anything about whether or when they would have learned about it, sorry.

    Maybe someone like Rod on this forum, with loads of research work done on later-war ops will have more specific info?

    Incidentally I recall reading that Heinz Schnaufer, the top-scoring nightfighter pilot (121 victories) preferred to use the normal forward-firing guns of his Me 110. Obviously worked for him!

    Ian

    ps As to Jack's original suggestion that the crews weren't told because it was hard to defend against schrage musik attacks I can't imagine that would be likely, would it? Even if they didn't have a proper solution, would the RAF deliberately allow crews to be killed rather than warn them of a danger they'd need to be alert for?
    Last edited by ianh; 30th August 2012 at 13:53.

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    According to all the photos I have seen of The Ju 88G-1 wr 712273 landed at Woodbridge, this aircraft did not carry schrage musik.

    You're right though, it did cause a stir, but because of its radar fit........the first complete SN-2 radar, and Naxos and Flensburg homing devices. This caused changes to "window" to match the shorter wavelength, and the removal of monica tail warning radar which Flensburg homed in on. Naxos could indicate the bomber stream by picking up H2S transmissions.

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    Default Ju 88

    Hi Peter

    Oops. You're right. No schrage musik on that one. Sorry everyone. Extra large portion of humble pie please.

    That's what you get for posting without checking your records first!! I've even got a copy of the report and photos of that one from Kew. (In my defence, M'Lud, I was doing it from memory, from at work).

    So when did we get to learn about the schrage musik installation then, I wonder? Have to go and explore further.

    Ian

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    Default Upward-firing Cannon

    Hello Jack,
    I asked an ex-625 sqn rear gunner about this a few years ago and he told me that (on his unit at least) the air gunners were aware of the threat of the upward-firing cannon. He started his tour in the autumn of '44.
    However, I didn't ask if he knew if the other crew members were aware of it...though I think that if the gunners were aware of it, it is hard to believe that it was never mentioned to the rest of the crew, even if only in their personal conversations.
    Tom

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    I agree Tom. It was in everybody's interest to be aware of this way of attacking their aircraft.

    I remember reading that the German pilot decided whether to fire at the cockpit and kill the occupants or at the engines and give the crew a chance to bail out.

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